Before World War II, patients who suffered a complete transection of the spinal cord rarely survived for more than a few weeks. Few patients who had suffered this type of injury recovered sufficiently to become even partially rehabilitated. Deaths resulted from infected decubitus ulcers, infections of the urinary tract, or respiratory complications. Only two or three hospitals had the trained personnel, the equipment, and the financial resources necessary for the tedious task of rehabilitating patients who were paralyzed because of spinal cord injuries. The paraplegic was indeed the "forgotten man."
During and since World War II, lessons learned and taught by Deaver, Rusk, Munro, Pool, and their colleagues have been used to develop other paraplegic rehabilitation centers. Several of the best of these are to be found in Veteran's Administration hospitals.
In this excellent monograph, Dr. Pool has briefly reviewed the history of paraplegia, its etiology and pathology, and in
The Neurosurgical Treatment of Traumatic Paraplegia. JAMA. 1951;146(9):876. doi:10.1001/jama.1951.03670090108038